Employment Agreements

What is the difference between an IEA and a CEA?

An IEA (individual employment agreement) is negotiated between an individual and their employer, while a CEA (collective employment agreement) is negotiated between NZALPA and your employer, ensuring the voice of employees can be heard. In both cases NZALPA can then work with you and your employer to make sure your rights (and responsibilities) are respected.

My colleagues and I are interested in negotiating a CEA. How can you help us?

 Yes, where there is no existing CEA in place NZALPA can initiate bargaining for a CEA at any time with your employer. You can contact NZALPA about this process.

Who do I call if I have a question about my IEA or CEA?

If you have any issues interpreting or enforcing your agreement you can discuss it with you’re your NZALPA workplace representative or contact NZALPA.

I don’t have a written Agreement. Where can I find my basic workplace entitlements?

Every employee must have a written employment agreement, which must be signed by both the employee and the employer. If you do not have a written agreement you should contact NZALPA to discuss your options. A breakdown of your basic entitlements can be found here: http://www.dol.govt.nz/infozone/myfirstjob/employees/during/rights.asp

Your Rights and Responsibilities

I believe I am being disadvantaged, treated unfairly / my employer is not complying with my contract or I have a personal grievance, what can I do?

You can raise an employment relationship problem with your employer where you have a disagreement (“dispute”) about the interpretation of your contract or where you feel like you have been disadvantaged, treated unfairly or discriminated against. 


Under the Employment Relations Act you have the right to pursue a personal grievance case if you have any of the following issues:

    • unjustifiable dismissal

    • unjustifiable action which disadvantages the employee

    • discrimination

    • sexual harassment (by someone in authority or by co-workers)

    • racial harassment

    • duress over membership of a union or other employee organisation.


      You need to raise this within 90 days of when the grievance occurred or it came to your attention. Your employer may consent to a personal grievance being raised after that time.  If your employer doesn’t consent the employee may apply to the Employment Relations Authority to be allowed to raise the personal grievance after the 90 day period.

    If you have a problem please contact your workplace representative or NZALPA.

I have a meeting with my employer about a problem with my work or behaviour. What are my rights? Can I take someone with me for support or representation?

You don’t have to attend a meeting with your employer about employment problems without support and you have a right to reschedule a meeting to a time when you can have a support person / representative with you. This could be a friend or family member, colleague, workplace representative, or NZALPA Representative.  More detail can be found in the Employment investigation or disciplinary meetings section below.

How do I get access to my personnel file?

As an employee you have a right to access your personnel (including your training) file. You can ask your employer directly or make an official request under principle 6 of the Privacy Act 1993. The personal file must be provided as soon as reasonably practicable and not later than 20 days after the day on which your employer receive the request, unless they have reason to ask for an extension.

Big changes are happening in my workplace. What are my rights around this?

You have the right to have your say and be listened to about issues that affect you in the workplace. In regard to workplace communication and change you have the following rights:
      • to know about things that affect your job before they occur;

      • to be provided enough information to be able to genuinely consider any changes that might affect your job;

      • to be provide enough time to be able to genuinely respond;

      • for your employer to genuinely consider  the views you put forward;

      • for your employer to genuinely respond to your views including let you know why any of your ideas have been rejected

      • any other rights that are provided for in your IEA or CEA.

Employment investigation or disciplinary meetings

How should I be informed about an investigation?

  • You / your support person / representative, can take notes.
  • You can take a break or adjournment to seek advice about how you should answer a question or whether the question is appropriate.
  • You can adjourn to another mutually agreeable date if you require advice from NZALPA.
  • You can ask your employer to explain or elaborate if you don’t understand their questions.
  • If you are unhappy with the result of the meeting you may be able to challenge the outcome through a personal grievance.  See section on personal grievances above. Remember there is a 90 day limit to raise this so discuss it with NZALPA as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you manage your wellbeing.  If you feel distracted by the process and are not fit for duty as a result of the process - safety comes first. NZALPA can provide you with support and provide other suggestions on where to access help.  NZALPA can also provide support if you are not able to fly.  Your employer may also have resources available, such as EAP (Employee Assistance Program).

What information are you entitled to?

All information and evidence that your employer has about the situation including documents, meeting notes, minutes, hand written notes, electronic material, photos and interviews should be provided to you prior to the meeting so you have enough time to read and respond to this information.

When should the meeting occur?

You should be given enough notice to arrange for a support person / representative and prepare a response. If your delegate / support person / representative is unavailable you are entitled to reschedule the meeting to a time that they can attend.

What are my employer’s obligations?

  • They should give you a fair opportunity to explain your side of the story and to put forward any relevant information.
  • They should genuinely listen and fairly respond to your explanations and any other information you provide.
  • Your employer must respect your privacy and keep the matter confidential. Only other employees who are interviewed as a part of the process should be aware of the matter.
  • The employer should not have a predetermined outcome before they have fairly investigated and considered your explanation.

What should I do in the meeting?